By Ovie Okpare
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has boasted that he has met and accomplished all criteria needed for he to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 as Nigeria’s President
Governor Bello also said the next president should be one who believes in equity, unity, peace and shared prosperity of the country.
The Kogi governor spoke in Asaba, Delta State capital, on Wednesday during the public presentation of a book ‘The Experience’ on pilgrimage to Isreal authored renowned journalist and Special Adviser to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Media, Mr. Fidelis Egugbo.
Bello, who was the special guest of honour at the event, was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Ahmed Mohammed, and a member of the Kogi State Executive Council, Moses Okezie.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the Kogi governor said he has accomplished what he believed should be benchmark in deciding the next president of Nigeria in Kogi State.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Okezie said his “principal is well qualified to run for president. He has proven by his stewardship in Kogi State that he has what it takes to make Nigeria great.
“The things that should decide the 2023 election which is equity, unity, peace and shared prosperity, he has accomplished these in Kogi.
“However as of this moment, my principal has not told anybody that he is running for president, but he has promised his supporters both at home and abroad who have been calling on him, that at the appropriate time, he would give them an appropriate answer.”
He said the Kogi State has surpassed the 35 percent affirmative action for gender representation in government as a matter of deliberate policy by the Bello-led administration.
“And Governor Yahaya Bello, by the National Council for Women Society, is the most gender sensitive governor in Nigeria.
“We have crossed the 35 percent affirmative action required or encouraged by the SDGs, we are now in about 45 percent and above.
“In the same way too, we are doing affirmative action for the youths, we are doing affirmative action for persons living with disabilities. Nigeria can only be built on a platform of equity where everybody whatever your tribe, religion, gender, ability and class,” he said.
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He disagreed with most state governors on the sponsorship of pilgrims to holy lands, saying that although citizens should be aided in worshipping God, when such becomes a strain on state resources, it should be discouraged to free up funds to meet priority needs.
“Where government can, it should facilitate but we do believe that sponsorship especially if it places undue burden on the resources of the state, it will no longer be a sustainable template.
“But it depends on state to state. So for those who can afford it, it is important to help people to serve God. It is also good that in planning for development, money can also be freed up from non-essentials to things that can directly impact on the lives of people on ground to reduce at least agitations of non-development or poor development by successive governments,” he noted.